Warm weather to arrive early in Prague

Temperatures will be spring-like, but that is not entirely good news

Temperatures this weekend, Feb. 16 and 17, in Prague are expected to hit a high of 14 degrees Celsius (57°F) and be mostly sunny, before dropping back down slightly during the week. Temperatures are expected to rise already on Friday as a high pressure center moves in from Bavaria.

Night time temperatures, though, should drop below freezing again and create fog, according to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ).

This is in sharp contrast to the freezing temperatures of the past few weeks, which saw heavy snow cover dumped on the city. This made for pretty Instagram pictures and made opportunities for sledding, skating and other winter sports but snarled traffic on icy roads.

Farmers markets at Náplavka and other locations such as náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad are already open, and based on past experience should be very crowded. Crowds are also likely in parks such as Petřínské sady, Stromovka and Divoká Šárka.

Despite the coming warm weather, it is still flu season, which is likely to last until the end of March. Vulnerable people such as the elderly and those with weak immune systems should still take precautions such as avoiding crowds.

The early arrival of warm weather, while pleasant, is also a bit alarming.

According to ČHMÚ, the year 2018 was the hottest on record for Prague. The city's main weather monitoring site at the Klementinum recorded an average of 12.8° C, the highest average temperature since record keeping began there in 1775. This was a full 3.2 degrees Celsius higher than the average temperature between 1775 and 2014.

The previous high annual average in Prague was 12.5 degrees, recorded in 2014 and 2015.

All of the top 10 record high years in Prague are in the 21st century, though 2008 ties with 1994 at 11.7 degrees.

Across the world. last year was the fourth-warmest on record, and the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service said last year was the hottest since the organization began its global warming study.

Europe was especially warm in 2018 and many countries experienced a summer heatwave. Average temperatures in Europe were less than 0.1°C below 2014 and 2015, the two warmest years on record.

“Dramatic climatic events like the warm and dry summer in large parts of Europe or the increasing temperature around the Arctic regions are alarming signs to all of us,” Jean-Noël Thépaut, head of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, said when the results were announced.

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